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Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings by admin | 13 January 2006 | Release Ref #: 11/2006 | 1965

    (CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The Caribbean Community notes the latest decision by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council to hold the first round of Presidential and Parliamentary elections on February 7, 2006. The Community congratulates the millions of Haitian citizens who have registered and declared their intention to participate in forthcoming elections.

    A secure environment, an orderly voting process, the widest participation by citizens and the right of all candidates to campaign freely without harassment nor the threat of violence are essential conditions that make for free, fair and successful elections. In turn, a credible process and acceptance of results are vital to the legitimacy and stability of the new government which will usher in the return to constitutional rule.

    There is widespread agreement that several critical technical, administrative and logistical problems must be urgently addressed if the groundwork for well-run elections is to be completed in keeping with the newly established dates. In this regard, the Community, through its Election Support Group (ESG) comprising the Chief Elections Officers of several Member States, stands ready to assist the efforts of the Haitian electoral authorities and their international partners in arranging for elections. The Community is also prepared to participate in international observation of the elections as a further contribution to the success of the electoral process.

    The Community regrets the death of the Force Commander of the United Nations Stabilization Force in Haiti (MINUSTAH) as well as the plight of numerous victims of kidnapping and other forms of violence. The Haitian National Police (HNP) and MINUSTAH have a difficult but critical task to improve public safety and security. The prolonged incarceration of political personalities without charge and the sluggishness of the judicial processes against those belatedly charged compromise the human rights situation and complicate the security environment. Persons in arbitrary detention should be released, and those charged should be quickly brought to justice. Respect for human rights, observance of the rule of law and due process as well as independence of the judiciary are as important as curbing insecurity, encouraging dialogue and reconciliation in the creation of a favourable environment for elections and for democracy.